A good cup of coffee is not always easy to find in London and I avoid a bad burnt tasting cup (aka what Starbucks, Café Nero and the like call “coffee”) like the plague. Over the years however I have found some truly great spots that I thought was about time to share with you and to which I can head knowing the coffee snob in me will leave satisfied!
Friends of Ours is my favourite place to stop by on my way into work to get my much-needed morning caffeine hit. The coffee is outstanding, I am yet to have a bad cappuccino here, and the staff are friendly and of the kind to start making your usual beverage order as you walk through the door. Their brunch offering also happens to be fantastic if you are after some grub, with their Antipodean inspired dishes being a world a way from you bog standard English breakfast.
The Japanese soufflé pancakes served with bruleed apricots, tonka bean & espresso chantilly cream, smoked almond praline, espresso caramel sauce, flowers I sampled the other week were simply divine and also beautifully presented, while their salmon and chilli eggs with beetroot & gin cured salmon gravlax, chilli & feta scrambled eggs, chimichurri, baby greens, mixed seeds showed that they are even able to liven up your standard eggs with some unique flavour twists. This place is a real neighbourhood favourite that has never let me down! One last tip – try their freshly baked Anzac cookies, I’ve become somewhat obsessed with these coconutty, oaty disks of goodness!
Most of you will know Arket as the super cool and minimal Scandi fashion and lifestyle brand that is part of the H&M empire, but only a few of you will have stumbled across the café space that is located at the back of their Covent Garden store. And what a lovely little spot it is, a peaceful and stylish (the Scandi minimalism has been beautifully executed here) café haven away from central London’s crowds which also serves up great coffee, lovely baked goods and surprisingly rather incredible salads. Their beetroot mousse salad with tahini dressing, nuts, fresh leafs, roasted beetroot and dark rye bread was one of the best salads I have EVER had and a steal at £6.50 for a huge bowl of feel good food. It is also never gets too busy in there so for me it has often been the ideal place to camp out for a good few hours to get work done while nibbling on one of their excellent blueberry oat cookies. A hidden gem I am happy to have discovered.
I am a big fan of all the Grind locations around London, it being a mini chain that I can totally get on board with as each of their cafes manages to retain a totally unique character, always has friendly staff and serves up consistently good coffee. I often stop by for a quick cup at Shoreditch Grind post Barry’s Boot Camp but my favourite of theirs has to be Clerkenwell Grind. It is a lot more spacious so you can have a proper sit down and I still gush at their plush pink Wes Anderson inspired interiors, plus I love that it is just around the corner from the Barbican, perfect if you fancy a little wonder after.
I love this vibrant coffee shop bang in the middle of Angel’s picturesque Camden Passage, Yes, it can get pretty crowded in there (both with coffee dates and freelancers looking for a working space for the day) and I, at times, have struggled to get a seat but that is only testament to how fantastic the coffee served here is. If you are in the area the Coffee Works Project is a must visit for a caffeine pick-me-up, you won’t leave disappointed!
Location is what makes this outpost of Spanish inspired café Fernandez and Wells so special, being inside one of my favourite buildings in London, Somerset house, with views across its impressive courtyard and also with some fantastic outside tables bang in the middle of exactly that courtyard when the British weather allows it. Not that it is all style over substance here, they also serve excellent coffee, fresh Spanish charcuterie and cheese as well as a great and cheap cava by the glass which will cost you £5 a pop) . For me it’s a great place to people watch, catch up with friends and take in the amazing architecture around you.